I’m Going to Peru with Compassion and I Would Love Your Prayers

As you know if you have been part of my tribe for long, I am an Ambassador for Compassion International. This means that I have the opportunity to share about Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program with individuals and groups all over the country. I love being able to do this! It hits my sweet spot smack in the middle because I get to speak and I get to be part of finding sponsors for children living in poverty. (At the end of this post there is a link for YOU to click over and sponsor a child.)

 

I Am Going to Peru Would You Pray

 

Compassion gives their speakers and artists an opportunity to go to the countries where Compassion operates and see the work being done there with children and families in poverty. I am crazy excited to have the opportunity and privilege to travel with Compassion to Peru April 22 through 27.

While my sponsored girls are not in Peru, I am still so eager to meet the Peruvian children at the child development center(s) we will visit. I am hoping to be able to look into their eyes and tell them how much Jesus loves them. I want to communicate how important they are to their sponsors, to me, and to Jesus. Being able to see how they are being taught to love Jesus and His Word, and how they are having their basic necessities provided through Compassion sponsors will be a huge blessing to my heart. I want to meet the Jesus-following mentors who pour into the lives of these children.

 

Compassion Banner

 

This chick has been in ministry long enough to know that when work is done or people go to minister in Jesus’ name Satan becomes a hot mess of anger and hatred. He tries his best to stop the work, to discourage the workers, to interfere with plane schedules and luggage arrival and tummies and noses. I also know that Jesus has Satan’s number and that ole’ devil cannot do anything without the permission of the Father. The good news is that the prayers of God’s people can make a difference.

If you have a mind to pray for me and the team with which I will travel in the week prior to and during the trip (April 15-27) it would be a blessing to my heart. I will communicate specific prayer needs to my prayer team via email, so if you feel led to be part of my prayer team for this trip, please email me at [email protected]. If you do not feel the leading of the Lord, or if you do not feel you can make this commitment right now it is perfectly fine. We will still be friends.

I will be posting more about the trip, especially in the days and weeks following it, so stay tuned.

SDG/FCA!!

If you are interested in sponsoring a child through Compassion, please go HERE to see the faces of beautiful children who are eagerly waiting for someone to sponsor them. You may not be able to change the whole world, but YOU, friend, can change the world for ONE CHILD! Release a child from poverty in Jesus’ name today.

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Advent Prayer Challenge

Maybe I am the only one, but sometimes prayer is the spiritual disciple that I fail horribly on. It’s not that I do not want to pray or do not know how to pray. The problem is that all too often I push prayer to the back burner of my morning quiet time. I am so eager to hear from God and be fed through the Scriptures that I rush through my prayer time and do not settle myself enough to engage in conversation with God. When I do that I miss such a blessing for my day.

You too?

I cannot even believe I am already saying the word ‘Easter’, but yes, I am.

For the past couple of years, I have tried to be more intentional with my prayer and devotional life in the weeks leading up to Easter. I have read devotional books with a focus on Easter that were so good. This year I am excited to try something different.

This year I am joining my friend Arabah Joy in her Praying the Promises of Cross Challenge. This challenge is a 40 day walk through Scripture beginning on Wednesday, March 6th and ending on Easter Sunday.

 

Advent Prayer Challenge

 

I’m thrilled to be a contributing writer this year. Each day there will be a Christ-centered promise to pray and a daily devotional – it’s a powerful time and a great way to focus on the cross leading up to Easter. You won’t want to miss it!  If you’re longing for deeper intimacy with Christ or looking for a way to grow in your prayer life, THIS could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Come join us!

Praying the Promises of the Cross

In a world of ‘self-centered’ Christianity, this challenge is a critical and relevant way of getting Christ-centered truth into our hearts. Please click HERE to sign up for the Praying the Promises of the Cross Challenge. There is no cost, a.k.a. IT’S FREE, to participate in the Challenge.

Arabah Joy is also offering an awesome Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle that contains some wonderful downloadable/printable items like a 40 day Praying the Promises of the Cross Prayer Journal, 40 Daily Prayer Cards, and Scripture Coloring Sheets.

 

Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle

 

These items will focus your heart on the cross and help you be intentional in your prayers during the Challenge. And let me tell you, those Prayer Cards are beautiful! You can purchase that by clicking on the link HERE.

I hope you will join me as we walk with intention toward the cross for 40 days beginning March 6th.

SDG/FCA!!

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A Fresh Perspective on Joy

Has God ever given you a fresh perspective on an issue that you have struggled with for, oh, decades? That is exactly what He has done for me in the past few weeks with the issue of joy, and I thought someone else might need to hear about it.

I’ve written before about my struggle with JOY. I simply do not always feel joy in my heart. I’m not talking about happiness, which is very fickle emotion. No, I’m talking about joy, which is not dependent on circumstances. You know, the-JOY-of-the-Lord-is-my-strength kind of joy. I just have not always felt it very often.

 

Fresh Perspective on Joy

 

 

This past month I have been reading the newest book by Max Lucado (see link below) entitled, Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World. The book uses Philippians 4:4-8 as its anchor verses. We all know these verses. I’ve read them a million times in my almost 54 years, yet I have seen them with fresh eyes and a new perspective. May I give them to you and ask you to read them as if you had never read them before?

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

I would like to share two lessons with you that I have tucked deeply into my heart from my time in this Lucado book. The first is the crucial importance of thanksgiving. Paul admonishes us to present our requests to God by prayer and supplication, AND with THANKSGIVING. Y’all, I am so guilty of rushing to the asking part of prayer without first attending to the thanksgiving portion. If being thankful to God was not crucial to this issue of anxiety and peace, Paul would not have put it in.

So, how has being reminded of this changed me? Thanks for asking. Now when I pray I begin with thankfulness. And, before I voice any request, I begin with something pertaining to that request for which I am thankful. It might sound like this: Lord, I thank you that you have sustained my friend who is going through chemo thus far, and I ask you to continue to give him strength and encouragement. It’s really that easy and it has given me a shot of joy that I did not have previously.

The second lesson the Lord has taught me is perspective. In the book, Lucado talks about Paul and all that he endured in his life. Y’all, Paul did not have an easy life, yet Paul wrote the classic treatise on joy (the book of Philippians) from a dark, dank, critter infested hole in Roman ground. God pretty much smacked me upside the head and said, “Leah, if Paul could have joy in the midst of and after all he endured, surely you can find joy in the midst of your easy life.”

Well, what do you say to that? It is hard to continue to whine about a lack of joy when God puts it like that, isn’t it?

Anytime I share what the Lord is doing in my heart, it is in hope that you will find encouragement for your journey, as well. God will never leave His child like they are. His goal is to change us to look more and more CHRIST-LIKE. This is one way He is doing just that AND working out my OneWord2018 in my heart.

I hope you have a great day, friend. Oh, and I hope you are praying about attending the Come Away {retreat} 2018. Excitement is building and I am praying that God prompts the hearts of 9 beautiful, amazing women to attend Come Away. Are you one of those women? Click HERE to read how Come Away changed the life of one woman.

SDG/FCA!!!

 

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We Are In A War! Let’s Do Battle!

Good morning! I will just go ahead and warn you…this is a multi-purpose post. I’m all over the board with it, so hang on.

 

Doing Battle For Our Children

 

 

I’m pretty excited that it is Friday and the weekend is here. Really, what I am excited about is Sabbath and a day of rest and worship. Y’all, I am leaning into Sabbath like my life depended on it. Because really, it does! After reading Shelly Miller’s book Rhythms of Rest TWICE, I am absolutely convinced that Sabbath is an all-out necessity. So, on Friday I change the sheets on the beds. On Saturday I do a couple of loads of laundry and prepare food for us to have on Sunday. Then, at 7pm on Saturday I settle in for Sabbath. No laundry is done on Sunday. Very little food is cooked on Sunday. I gather my book and quilt and spend Sunday afternoon reading and resting. Sometimes I sit on my deck and pray, while other times I visit with family and friends. My Sabbath rest re-charges me for the week ahead and draws me closer to Jesus. I really, really want to encourage you to lean into Sabbath. You can do it, even if you have littles in your home. It may be a Sabbath hour while they are napping, but you can carve out some Sabbath time for your heart.

 

Ladies, there is still time to register for the Come Away [retreat}. I have a couple of spaces open and I would love to have you join us September 15-17th for some intimate time with Jesus. It is a time when we will study the Scriptures, worship, pray, rest, and just cozy up next to our Lord. Would you join us? Go HERE to learn more about the retreat and how to register.

 

Come Away Retreat

 

Finally, I wanted to share something with you that I heard on the radio this week. It impacted my heart greatly, and I hope it will be a blessing to you, as well. The pastor on the radio was named Randy Snyder and he was speaking about how parents can impact the lives of their children. This is not the word-for-word quote, but it is close.

As parents, we go to war for our children every time we pray for them. It is the most important thing we can do for our children.

 

It really is true. While I have no children to whom I gave birth, there are a handful that of young adults that I love with all my heart. Charlie, Bree, Parker, Coleson, Kalem, Erika, my Compassion daughters, and a few more. It is privilege to go to war for them on a regular basis. I ask the Lord to give them hearts that love Him deeply and to bring them spouses that love Jesus more than he or she love them. I ask Him to guide them and lead them each day. I go to war for these young adults because I love them as if they were my own.

Do you have children or young adults for whom you go to war? Suit up! The next generation needs our prayers.

 

SDG/FCA!

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Authentic: What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?

It all began in 2008. Somewhere…perhaps in a Bible study or a sermon…Romans 12:1-2 floated into my heart like an autumn leaf twirling to the ground. It was not an unfamiliar pair of verses, but neither were they sealed into my memory….yet.

Before long, these verses began popping up everywhere. In a sermon, in whatever Bible study I was doing, devotionals, on the radio…flitter, I fully expected to walk into a bathroom stall somewhere and find them scrawled on the wall. Seriously, it was comical how God was using repetition to force me to pay attention to these verses. The more I heard them, the more I realized that there was a message, a life message, in them for me.

In the eight years since, I have tucked these verses deeply into my heart and made them into an almost daily prayer for my life. I believe they are the key that opens the door to the authentic Christian life. Let’s start with verse 1.

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (ESV)

 

As we think about authentic Christianity, about being a stand-out Christian in a world that tells us to shut-up, what possible help could this verse be? Sacrifice? Holy? It all sounds very antiquated, doesn’t it?

 

Authentic What Are You Willing To Sacrifice

 

Paul is doing a little bit of what I like to call ‘guilt trippin’ his brethren. He is saying something like this: “Look at what God has done for you. How in the world could you not give your all for Him? It really is what you should do.”

One thing that is important for us to understand is the context in which Paul wrote Romans. In that day there was a prevalent philosophy that said that the soul or spirit was inherently good, while the body was inherently evil. Because the body was considered to be evil and would die eventually, it didn’t matter what you did with or to your body. Your soul/spirit was what mattered. For this reason, many people participated in immorality, believing that as long as their heart/spirit was right, they were good. There was a huge disconnect between the body and the spirit. Might sound a bit like today, huh?

So, back to how this verse impacted me. One day while I was exercising I was deeply impressed by the Holy Spirit to begin praying this verse back to God. So I did.

Lord, I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice. I am yours. Change me. Use me. Make me into whatever you desire.

Now, this is not a prayer to be prayed flippantly, because sacrifices in the Old Testament did not remain alive. So, what I was saying to God is take whatever does not please you and crucify it, kill it, so that all that remains is holy and acceptable to you.

Vance Havner once said that the problem with living sacrifices is that they tend to crawl off the altar. This required an intentional, deliberate act of my will. I had to be willing open the doors of my heart completely to the Holy Spirit, holding nothing back….NOTHING BACK!  I had to be willing to allow Him to clean out impure thoughts and selfish desires. I had to be serious about crawling up on that altar and allowing my flesh to be crucified so Jesus could live through me. What Jesus has done in my heart since I began praying this prayer is stunning. He has given me an intense desire to be more and more like Him.

 

Authentic Havner quote

 

Authentic Christianity requires that we give God the ultimate sacrifice of self….body, mind, and spirit. The world needs to see Christ-followers who are walking out holy lives because they have offered their bodies as living sacrifices for the cause of Christ.

MEDITATION MOMENT: What would you need to do in order to make Romans 12:1 a reality in your life? What is hindering you from offering your body as a living sacrifice? I would love to pray for you in this regard. Feel free to leave a comment or email me at [email protected].

 

Have you heard about Journibles? They are a series of beautiful books that offer space for you to write out that specific book of the Bible. I love my Romans Journible. I scribed the entire book of Romans in it. The Word comes alive even more when you write it out. Here is my Amazon affiliate link to the Romans Journible. Order your copy today and begin writing out the book of Romans.

 

Linking this week with:

Grace & Truth Link-Up

Are You Serious About Prayer?

Good morning!

Does God ever ‘pester’ you? He does me, although I suppose it is not fair to call it ‘pestering’.

Perhaps I should say He nags me. Hmmm, no that does not sound quite right either.

Ah, I know. He is insistent. That’s it. Insistent that I pay attention to something important.

That’s what has been going on in my heart recently. God has been all up in my business about PRAYER.

 

 

Serious About Prayer

 

 

Now, let me start off by saying that I pray…every day. The fact of a prayer life is not what He has been speaking to me about. Instead, He has been reminding me of the POWER of prayer.

It all began a few months ago when a friend told me that he was going to do something that he and I both knew was outside of God’s will. Yet, he was bound and determined to do it. My heart was broken over it. Broken so much that I wept on the spot when he told me about his plans.

Being the controller that I am, over the next few days I tried to figure out a way I could change his mind. There was not a way. As I agonized over the situation (and that is what I did because I knew my friend’s decision would bring grave and painful consequences), the Holy Spirit reminded me that there was something I could do to change the situation. I could pray.

In fact, when my friend told me about his intentions, I rather boldly, but in love, told him two things: first, God cannot bless what you are doing; and second, I will not stop praying for you to change your mind.

So, I began to pray that God would intervene and change my friend’s mind. I knew, because of the situation, that I was praying IN THE WILL OF GOD. So, I knew what I was asking God to do was something that He desired to do. THAT RIGHT THERE, friends, is the key to powerful, effective prayer. PRAYING IN THE WILL OF GOD.

I would pray early and often. I would cry and pray. I would pace and pray. I would get on face before God and pray. For several weeks this consumed my prayers. I knew that God had the power and desire to change my friend’s heart because what I was asking lined up with Scripture. I had to trust God’s heart and His plan.

About four weeks after I began praying, my friend came to me and told me that a few days prior he had gone to bed with a heart set on doing what he had planned. He told me that the next morning when he woke up, the desire to move ahead with his plans was gone. GONE! I praised God for intervening.

Y’all, prayer is powerful. PRAYER THAT IS PRAYED IN THE WILL OF GOD IS POWERFUL!

I knew that fact. Yet, being a witness to God moving in such a powerful way in response to my prayers has blown my mind. How do I know God responded to my prayers? Because my friend told me that less than a handful of people knew about what he planned to do….and he doubted that any of them prayed for him to change his mind.

I take absolutely no credit for his change of heart. All the credit goes to God!! All the praise goes to God! He simply allowed me to be part of His work through prayer in the life of my friend. Hallelujah!

So, friend, PRAY! Whatever is going on in your life, find out what God’s will is for that situation and then pray in His will. If God’s will is not clear in the situation, pray that God will move in the way that He knows is best.

Prayer is our most powerful weapon. Prayer is effective defense and effective offense. Use it!!

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OH! By the way, did you get my BIRTHDAY GIFT? It was my birthday a week or so ago, and I gave YOU a gift. Click here to get it.

Also, did you check out my new Bible study that will be released in August, which you can PRE-BUY right now? I’m pretty excited about it. Click here to check it out.

Grace and peace,

Leah

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